Sources of Support

It takes a village to raise a child, and it is an incredible act of self-care to ask for help. This chapter looks at ways to build a support system with family, friends and skilled birth workers who will be there for you each step of the way.

  • Types of support expecting and new parents need
  • How to build a strong, effective support system
  • How to find support in your community
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Terms in this Chapter

when the muscles of the uterus tighten and then relax to help push the baby out during labor


to open. Typically the birthing person’s cervix will begin dilating in the last weeks of pregnancy; in labor the cervix will dilate to about 10 cm to let the baby out.


making milk in the breasts, and/or feeding a baby from the chest.


a bodily response to maintain health or promote normal function


after childbirth


before birth / during pregnancy


speaking up for yourself, your needs and your desires so you can make informed decisions and have your decisions respected

Shared decision making

when a provider and a patient work together to make a health care decision that is best for the patient. The optimal decision takes into account evidence-based information about options, the provider’s knowledge and experience, and the patient’s values and preferences.

Support people

anyone in the pregnant person’s life whose purpose is to physically or emotionally support them


WIC is short for Women, Infants, and Children. WIC is a federal assistance program designed to provide nutrition and nutritional information, including lactation (breast feeding) services, to parents and children in financial need.